Published by American Society of Hematology

Online ISSN: 1528-0020


Print ISSN: 0006-4971


To B or not to B
  • Article

October 2010


54 Reads

Kristina T Lu


Recent data from mouse models suggest that some phenotypes of X-linked lymphoproliferative disease (XLP) result from impaired T:B-cell interactions.Hislop and colleagues now provide evidence that this may contribute to abnormal responses to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in XLP.

Long-range control of T-cell development

August 2013


26 Reads

In this issue of Blood, Li et al reveal the genetic elements that control the activity of Bcl11b, a critical regulator of T-cell development. Lineage-defining transcription factors (TFs), such as Bcl11b, control key steps in cellular differentiation throughout development, and understanding how these TFs are themselves regulated represents a major challenge.

Figure 1. Anticoagulant activity of protein S in the absence of APC in recalcified normal pooled citrated plasma. (A) Normal pooled plasma was incubated with antibodies against protein C with ( F ) or without ( E ) antibodies against protein S. After a 15-minute incubation, thrombin generation was started with 3.5 pM tissue factor, 10 ␮ M phospholipid vesicles 20/60/20 1,2-Dioleoyl- sn -glycero-3-phosphoserine (DOPS)/1,2-Dioleoyl- sn glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC)/1,2-Dioleoyl- sn -glycero-3- phosphoethanolamine (DOPE), and 16 mM CaCl 2 (final concentrations). (B) A similar experiment in which thrombin generation 
Analyses of protein S function
  • Article
  • Full-text available

October 2005


59 Reads


TEL-AML1 in cord blood: 1% or 0.01%?

January 2011


24 Reads

In this issue of Blood, Lausten-Thomsen et al challenge the notion that TEL-AML1 transcripts are prevalent in newborns, raising questions about our understanding of the natural history of childhood ALL and the potential utility of newborn screening.

Identification of High-Affinity (Kd 0.35 �mo1/L) and Low-Affinity (Kd 7.9 .tmol/L) Platelet Binding Sites for ADP and Competition by ADP Analogues

February 1988


33 Reads

Steady-state binding of ADP to blood platelets and isolated membranes has not previously been obtained because of complications arising from metabolism of the ligand and dilution due to its secretion from storage granules. In the present studies, competition binding isotherms (n = 9) using paraformaldehyde-fixed platelets showed that [2-3 H]ADP bound to two sites with a small amount (approximately 5% of total) of nonspecific binding: 410,000 +/- 40,000 sites of low affinity (Kd 7.9 +/- 2.0 mumol/L) and 160,000 +/- 20,000 sites of high affinity (Kd 0.35 +/- 0.04 mumol/L) corresponding to the ADP concentration required for activation in fresh platelets (0.1-0.5 mumol/L). All agonists and antagonists examined were able to compete with ADP at the high-affinity site. The strong platelet agonists 2-methylthio ADP and 2-(3-aminopropylthio)ADP competed with ADP at the high-affinity site with dissociation constant values of 7 mumol/L and 200 mumol/L, respectively. The partial agonist 2',3'-dialdehyde ADP and the weak agonist GDP also competed at the high-affinity site with Kd values of 5 mumol/L and 49 mumol/L, respectively. The sequence of binding affinities of other adenine nucleotides at the high-affinity site corresponded to their relative activities as known antagonists of platelet activation by ADP; namely, ADP(Kd 0.35 mumol/L) approximately equal to ATP (Kd 0.45 mumol/L) much greater than AMP (Kd 360 mumol/L). Adenosine and 2-chloroadenosine did not compete with ADP. ADP binding to the high-affinity site was inhibited by p-mercuribenzene sulfonate (Ki 250 mumol/L) but only very weakly by 5'-p-fluorosulfonylbenzoyladenosine (Ki 1 mmol/L). All the above nucleotides also competed with ADP at the low-affinity sites but, because of the high concentrations of competing nucleotide required, dissociation constants at this site were obtained only for ATP (21 mumol/L), 2-MeS ADP (200 mumol/L) and 2',3'-dialdehyde ADP (270 mumol/L). 8-Bromo ADP competed strongly with ADP at the high-affinity site (Kd 0.40 mumol/L) but weakly if at all at the low-affinity site. 8-Bromo ADP inhibited platelet activation induced by ADP (EC50 approximately 100 mumol/L) but not by collagen, thrombin, or ionophore A23187.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Figure 1: Lack of histological evidence of thrombosis or emboli in any organ despite a hematocrit of 0.85. 
Table 1
Figure 2: Sub-aquatic bleeding time, platelet concentrations, and bone marrow histology showing reduced megakaryocyte numbers. Sub-aquatic bleeding time was measured to assess hemostasis (A). Apparently reduced platelet numbers in transgenic mice (B) were calculated to be in the same range or even increased in comparison to wild type mice when the highly reduced 
Figure 3: Computerized thrombelastography of wild type and transgenic mice blood: effect of hematocrit and platelet concentration. Computerized thrombelastography was used to investigate clot formation. Native whole blood from wild type (dashed lines) and transgenic (solid lines) mice was analyzed and typical traces of the different age groups are shown (A). Clot strength was reduced as early as 1 month in transgenic mice and further declined with age compared to wild type controls. The erythrocyte concentration was increased in blood from transgenic mice, and at the same time the concentration of platelets was decreased. In order to characterize the effect on the thrombelastogram of the erythrocyte concentration separate from the effect of the platelet concentration, experiments were performed where the concentration of one cell type was kept constant while the concentration of the other was varied. Increasing the hematocrit when the platelet concentration was kept at 1000 [10 3 /μL] (B) resulted in a marked and progressive reduction of clot strength. 
Figure 4: Increased erythrocyte osmotic fragility and decreased activity of the plasmatic coagulation in transgenic animals. Osmotic fragility of erythrocytes from transgenic mice (B) was markedly increased from 4 months onwards compared to wild type controls (A). Prolongation of the activated partial thromboplastin time (C) and the thrombin clotting time (D) reveal a decreased activity of the plasmatic coagulation. wt wild type, tg transgenic, OD optical density. * P < 0.01, # P < 0.001, compared to age-matched wild type controls. 
Hemostasis and coagulation at a hematocrit level of 0.85: Functional consequences of erythrocytosis

July 2003


265 Reads


Jo Hasegawa





Klaus F Wagner
We have generated a transgenic mouse line that reaches a hematocrit concentration of 0.85 due to constitutive overexpression of human erythropoietin in an oxygen-independent manner. Unexpectedly, this excessive erythrocytosis did not lead to thrombembolic complications in all investigated organs at any age. Thus, we investigated the mechanisms preventing thrombembolism in this mouse model. Blood analysis revealed an age-dependent elevation of reticulocyte numbers and a marked thrombocytopenia that matched the reduced megakaryocyte numbers in the bone marrow. However, platelet counts were not different from wild-type controls, when calculations were based on the distribution (eg, plasma) volume, thereby explaining why thrombopoietin levels did not increase in transgenic mice. Nevertheless, bleeding time was significantly increased in transgenic animals. A longitudinal investigation using computerized thromboelastography revealed that thrombus formation was reduced with increasing age from 1 to 8 months in transgenic animals. We observed that increasing erythrocyte concentrations inhibited profoundly and reversibly thrombus formation and prolonged the time of clot development, most likely due to mechanical interference of red blood cells with clot-forming platelets. Transgenic animals showed increased nitric oxide levels in the blood that could inhibit vasoconstriction and platelet activation. Finally, we observed that plasmatic coagulation activity in transgenic animals was significantly decreased. Taken together, our findings suggest that prevention of thrombembolic disease in these erythrocytotic transgenic mice was due to functional consequences inherent to increased erythrocyte concentrations and a reduction of plasmatic coagulation activity, the cause of which remains to be elucidated.

The inhibitory anti-FGFR3 antibody, PRO-001, is cytotoxic to t(4;14) multiple myeloma cells

June 2006


84 Reads

The association of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) expression with t(4;14) multiple myeloma (MM) and the demonstration of the transforming potential of this receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) make it a particularly attractive target for drug development. We report here a novel and highly specific anti-FGFR3-neutralizing antibody (PRO-001). PRO-001 binds to FGFR3 expressed on transformed cells and inhibits FGFR3 autophosphorylation and downstream signaling. The antibody inhibited the growth of FGFR3-expressing FDCP cells (IC(50) of 0.5 microg/mL) but not that of cells expressing FGFR1 or FGFR2, and potently inhibited FGFR3-dependent solid tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model. Furthermore, PRO-001 inhibited the growth of the FGFR3-expressing, human myeloma cell line, UTMC2. Inhibition of viability was still observed when cells were cocultured with stroma or in the presence of IL-6 or IGF-1. PRO-001 did not inhibit constitutive activation of K650E, G384D, and Y373C FGFR3 in myeloma cell lines and failed to inhibit the growth of these cells. Most importantly, however, PRO-001 induced cytotoxic responses in primary t(4;14)(+) MM samples with an increase in apoptotic index of 20% to 80% as determined by annexin V staining. The data demonstrate that PRO-001 is a potent and specific inhibitor of FGFR3 and deserves further study for the treatment of FGFR3-expressing myeloma.

Figure 1. Progression-free survival (A) and overall survival (B) in response evaluable patients (n=257) treated with single-agent carfilzomib. 
Figure 2. Responses according to demographic and baseline disease characteristics. 
A phase 2 study of single-agent carfilzomib (PX-171-003-A1) in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma

July 2012


176 Reads

Carfilzomib is a next-generation, selective proteasome inhibitor being evaluated for the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. In this open-label, single-arm phase 2 study (PX-171-003-A1), patients received single-agent carfilzomib 20 mg/m(2) intravenously twice weekly for 3 of 4 weeks in cycle 1, then 27 mg/m(2) for ≤ 12 cycles. The primary endpoint was overall response rate (≥ partial response). Secondary endpoints included clinical benefit response rate (≥ minimal response), duration of response, progression-free survival, overall survival, and safety. A total of 266 patients were evaluable for safety, 257 for efficacy; 95% were refractory to their last therapy; 80% were refractory or intolerant to both bortezomib and lenalidomide. Patients had median of 5 prior lines of therapy, including bortezomib, lenalidomide, and thalidomide. Overall response rate was 23.7% with median duration of response of 7.8 months. Median overall survival was 15.6 months. Adverse events (AEs) were manageable without cumulative toxicities. Common AEs were fatigue (49%), anemia (46%), nausea (45%), and thrombocytopenia (39%). Thirty-three patients (12.4%) experienced peripheral neuropathy, primarily grades 1 or 2. Thirty-three patients (12.4%) withdrew because of an AE. Durable responses and an acceptable tolerability profile in this heavily pretreated population demonstrate the potential of carfilzomib to offer meaningful clinical benefit. This trial was registered at as #NCT00511238.

An open-label, single-arm, phase 2 (PX-171-004) study of single-agent carfilzomib in bortezomib-naive patients with relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma

May 2012


69 Reads

Carfilzomib is a selective proteasome inhibitor that binds irreversibly to its target. In phase 1 studies, carfilzomib elicited promising responses and an acceptable toxicity profile in patients with relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma (R/R MM). In the present phase 2, multicenter, open-label study, 129 bortezomib-naive patients with R/R MM (median of 2 prior therapies) were separated into Cohort 1, scheduled to receive intravenous carfilzomib 20 mg/m(2) for all treatment cycles, and Cohort 2, scheduled to receive 20 mg/m(2) for cycle 1 and then 27 mg/m(2) for all subsequent cycles. The primary end point was an overall response rate (≥ partial response) of 42.4% in Cohort 1 and 52.2% in Cohort 2. The clinical benefit response (overall response rate + minimal response) was 59.3% and 64.2% in Cohorts 1 and 2, respectively. Median duration of response was 13.1 months and not reached, and median time to progression was 8.3 months and not reached, respectively. The most common treatment-emergent adverse events were fatigue (62.0%) and nausea (48.8%). Single-agent carfilzomib elicited a low incidence of peripheral neuropathy-17.1% overall (1 grade 3; no grade 4)-in these pretreated bortezomib-naive patients. The results of the present study support the use of carfilzomib in R/R MM patients. This trial is registered at as NCT00530816.

Miller CP, Rudra S, Keating MJ, Wierda WG, Palladino M, Chandra J.. Caspase-8 dependent histone acetylation by a novel proteasome inhibitor, NPI-0052: a mechanism for synergy in leukemia cells. Blood 113: 4289-4299

February 2009


21 Reads

Combination studies of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) and proteasome inhibitors are providing preclinical framework to build better strategies against hematologic malignancies. Our previous work found that a novel proteasome inhibitor, NPI-0052, and HDACi synergistically induce apoptosis in leukemia cells in a caspase-8- and oxidant-dependent manner. Here we extend those observations to primary leukemia cells and identify novel mechanisms of synergy. Because the proximal targets of NPI-0052 and HDACi are inhibition of proteasome activity and histone acetylation, we initially examined those biochemical events. Increased acetylation of histone-H3 was detected in Jurkat and CLL primary cells treated with NPI-0052, alone or in combination with various HDACi (MS/SNDX-275 or vorinostat). Hyperacetylation by NPI-0052 occurred to a lesser extent in caspase-8-deficient cells and in cells treated with an antioxidant. These results indicate that NPI-0052 is eliciting caspase-8 and oxidative stress-dependent epigenetic alterations. In addition, real-time PCR revealed that MS/SNDX-275 repressed expression of the proteasomal beta5, beta2, and beta1 subunits, consequently inhibiting respective enzymatic activities. Overall, our results suggest that crosstalk by NPI-0052 and HDACi are contributing, along with caspase-8 activation and oxidative stress, to their synergistic cytotoxic effects in leukemia cells, reinforcing the potential clinical utility of combining these 2 agents.

NPI-0052, a novel proteasome inhibitor, induces caspase-8 and ROS-dependent apoptosis alone and in combination with HDAC inhibitors in leukemia cells

August 2007


97 Reads

The proteasome has been successfully targeted for the treatment of multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma; however, in other hematologic malignancies, bortezomib has been less effective as a single agent. Here, we describe effects of NPI-0052, a novel proteasome inhibitor, in leukemia model systems. In cell lines, NPI-0052 inhibits all 3 proteolytic activities associated with the proteasome: chymotrypsin-, trypsin-, and caspase-like. NPI-0052 also induces DNA fragmentation in leukemia lines and in mononuclear cells from a Ph + acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patient. Caspase-3 activation by NPI-0052 was seen in wild-type Jurkat cells, but was significantly lessened in Fas-associated death domain (FADD)-deficient or caspase-8-deficient counterparts. NPI-0052-induced apoptosis was further probed using caspase-8 inhibitors, which were more protective than caspase-9 inhibitors. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) also conferred protection against NPI-0052-induced apoptosis, indicating a role for oxidative stress by NPI-0052. In support of the drug's in vitro activities, biweekly treatment with NPI-0052 lessened total white blood cell (WBC) burden over 35 days in leukemic mice. Interestingly, combining NPI-0052 with either MS-275 or valproic acid (VPA) induced greater levels of cell death than the combination of bortezomib with these histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi). These effects of NPI-0052, alone and in combination with HDACi, warrant further testing to determine the compound's clinical efficacy in leukemia.

Combination of proteasome inhibitors bortezomib and NPI-0052 trigger in vivo synergistic cytotoxicity in multiple myeloma

March 2008


115 Reads

Our recent study demonstrated that a novel proteasome inhibitor NPI-0052 triggers apoptosis in multiple myeloma (MM) cells, and importantly, that is distinct from bortezomib (Velcade) in its chemical structure, effects on proteasome activities, and mechanisms of action. Here, we demonstrate that combining NPI-0052 and bortezomb induces synergistic anti-MM activity both in vitro using MM cell lines or patient CD138(+) MM cells and in vivo in a human plasmacytoma xenograft mouse model. NPI-0052 plus bortezomib-induced synergistic apoptosis is associated with: (1) activation of caspase-8, caspase-9, caspase-3, and PARP; (2) induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response and JNK; (3) inhibition of migration of MM cells and angiogenesis; (4) suppression of chymotrypsin-like (CT-L), caspase-like (C-L), and trypsin-like (T-L) proteolytic activities; and (5) blockade of NF-kappaB signaling. Studies in a xenograft model show that low dose combination of NPI-0052 and bortezomib is well tolerated and triggers synergistic inhibition of tumor growth and CT-L, C-L, and T-L proteasome activities in tumor cells. Immununostaining of MM tumors from NPI-0052 plus bortezomib-treated mice showed growth inhibition, apoptosis, and a decrease in associated angiogenesis. Taken together, our study provides the preclinical rationale for clinical protocols evaluating bortezomib together with NPI-0052 to improve patient outcome in MM.

Figure 4. NPI-0052 inhibits both inducible and constitutive NF-B activation in a dose-and time-dependent manner. (A) KBM-5 cells were incubated with the indicated concentrations of NPI-0052 for 4 hours and then exposed to 0.1 nM TNF for 30 minutes. The nuclear extracts were subjected to EMSA to evaluate NF-B activation. (B) Cells were preincubated with 50 nM NPI-0052 for the indicated times, treated with 0.1 nM TNF for 30 minutes, and then subjected to EMSA to evaluate NF-B activation. H1299 (C) or A293 (D) cells were pretreated with 50 nM NPI-0052 for 4 hours and then treated with 0.1 nM TNF for 30 minutes. The nuclear extracts were then prepared and assayed for NF-B by EMSA as described in "Materials and methods." (E) U266 cells with constitutive NF-B activation cells were incubated with () 50 nM NPI-0052 for 12 hours. Nuclear extracts were prepared and analyzed for NF-B activation by EMSA.
Figure 7. NPI-0052 inhibits TNF-induced NF-B-dependent reporter gene (SEAP) expression and suppresses chymotrypsin-like activity of 20S proteasome. (A) A293 cells were transiently transfected with an NF-B-containing plasmid linked to the SEAP gene and then pretreated with the indicated concentrations of NPI-0052 for 4 hours. After 24 hours in culture with 1 nM TNF, cell supernatants were collected and assayed for SEAP activity as described in "Materials and methods." Results are expressed as fold activity over the activity of the vector control. (B) Chemical structures of various proteasome inhibitors. (C) KBM-5 (1 10 6 ) cells were incubated with 50 nM each of various proteasome inhibitors for 4 hours and then exposed to 0.1 nM TNF for 30 minutes. The nuclear extracts were subjected to EMSA to evaluate NF-B activation. (D) RPMI 8226 and PC-3 cells were treated with various concentrations of NPI-0052 and bortezomib for 1 hour, prepared the cell lysates, and assayed for the chymotrypsin-like activity of the 20S proteasome as described in "Materials and methods." Results are presented as percentage inhibition compared with the chymotrypsin-like activity observed in untreated cells. Error bars represent SD of triplicate values.
KBM-5 cells treated with NPI-0052, TNF, thalidomide, and bortezomib alone or in combination
U266 cells treated with NPI-0052, thalidomide, and bortezomib alone or in combination
Salinosporamide A (NPI-0052) potentiates apoptosis, suppresses osteoclastogenesis, and inhibits invasion through down-modulation of NF-kappaB regulated gene products

November 2007


59 Reads

Salinosporamide A (also called NPI-0052), recently identified from the marine bacterium Salinispora tropica, is a potent inhibitor of 20S proteasome and exhibits therapeutic potential against a wide variety of tumors through a poorly understood mechanism. Here we demonstrate that salinosporamide A potentiated the apoptosis induced by tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF), bortezomib, and thalidomide, and this correlated with down-regulation of gene products that mediate cell proliferation (cyclin D1, cyclooxygenase-2 [COX-2], and c-Myc), cell survival (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, cFLIP, TRAF1, IAP1, IAP2, and survivin), invasion (matrix metallopro-teinase-9 [MMP-9] and ICAM-1), and angiogenesis (vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF]). Salinosporamide A also suppressed TNF-induced tumor cell invasion and receptor activator of nuclear factor kappaB ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclastogenesis. We also found that it suppressed both constitutive and inducible NF-kappaB activation. Compared with bortezomib, MG-132, N-acetyl-leucyl-leucyl-norleucinal (ALLN), and lactacystin, salinosporamide A was found to be the most potent suppressor of NF-kappaB activation. Further studies showed that salinosporamide A inhibited TNF-induced inhibitory subunit of NF-kappaB alpha (IkappaBalpha) degradation, nuclear translocation of p65, and NF-kappaB-dependent reporter gene expression but had no effect on IkappaBalpha kinase activation, IkappaBalpha phosphorylation, or IkappaBalpha ubiquitination. Thus, overall, our results indicate that salinosporamide A enhances apoptosis, suppresses osteoclastogenesis, and inhibits invasion through suppression of the NF-kappaB pathway.

Combination of novel proteasome inhibitor NPI-0052 and lenalidomide trigger in vitro and in vivo synergistic cytotoxicity in multiple myeloma

November 2009


271 Reads

Our recent study demonstrated that a novel proteasome inhibitor NPI-0052 is distinct from bortezomib (Velcade) and, importantly, triggers apoptosis in multiple myeloma (MM) cells resistant to bortezomib. Here we demonstrate that combining NPI-0052 and lenalidomide (Revlimid) induces synergistic anti-MM activity in vitro using MM-cell lines or patient MM cells. NPI-0052 plus lenalidomide-induced apoptosis is associated with (1) activation of caspase-8, caspase-9, caspase-12, caspase-3, and poly(ADP) ribose polymerase; (2) activation of BH-3 protein BIM; (3) translocation of BIM to endoplasmic reticulum; (4) inhibition of migration of MM cells and angiogenesis; and (5) suppression of chymotrypsin-like, caspase-like, and trypsin-like proteasome activities. Importantly, blockade of BIM using siRNA significantly abrogates NPI-0052 plus lenalidomide-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, studies using biochemical inhibitors of caspase-8 versus caspase-9 demonstrate that NPI-0052 plus lenalidomide-triggered apoptosis is primarily dependent on caspase-8 signaling. In animal tumor model studies, low-dose combination of NPI-0052 and lenalidomide is well tolerated, significantly inhibits tumor growth, and prolongs survival. Taken together, our study provides the preclinical rationale for clinical protocols evaluating lenalidomide together with NPI-0052 to improve patient outcome in MM.

Table 2 . Study treatment disposition MPD cohort (n 5 52) Overall (N 5 84) 
Table 4 . Treatment-emergent adverse events occurring in ‡25% of patients for any grade or ‡5% for grade 3/4 in the MPD cohort or overall study population 
Phase 2 dose-expansion study (PX-171-006) of carfilzomib, lenalidomide, and low-dose dexamethasone in relapsed or progressive multiple myeloma

September 2013


94 Reads

We previously reported a phase 1b dose-escalation study of carfilzomib, lenalidomide, and low-dose dexamethasone (CRd) in relapsed or progressive multiple myeloma where the maximum planned dose (MPD) was carfilzomib 20 mg/m2 days 1 and 2 of cycle 1 and 27 mg/m2 days 8, 9, 15, 16, and thereafter; lenalidomide 25 mg days 1 to 21; and dexamethasone 40 mg once weekly on 28-day cycles. Herein, we present results from the phase 2 dose expansion at the MPD, focusing on the 52 patients enrolled in the MPD cohort. Median follow-up was 24.4 months. In the MPD cohort, overall response rate (ORR) was 76.9% with median time to response of 0.95 month (range, 0.5-4.6) and duration of response (DOR) of 22.1 months. Median progression-free survival was 15.4 months. ORR was 69.2% in bortezomib-refractory patients and 69.6% in lenalidomide-refractory patients with median DOR of 22.1 and 10.8 months, respectively. A median of 9.5 (range, 1-45) carfilzomib cycles were started with 7.7% of patients requiring carfilzomib dose reductions and 19.2% discontinuing CRd due to adverse events (AEs). Grade 3/4 AEs included lymphopenia (48.1%), neutropenia (32.7%), thrombocytopenia (19.2%), and anemia (19.2%). CRd at the MPD was well tolerated with robust, rapid, and durable responses.

Antithrombotic drug candidate ALX-0081 shows superior preclinical efficacy and safety compared with currently marketed antiplatelet drugs

May 2011


842 Reads

Neutralizing the interaction of the platelet receptor gpIb with VWF is an attractive strategy to treat and prevent thrombotic complications. ALX-0081 is a bivalent Nanobody which specifically targets the gpIb-binding site of VWF and interacts avidly with VWF. Nanobodies are therapeutic proteins derived from naturally occurring heavy-chain-only Abs and combine a small molecular size with a high inherent stability. ALX-0081 exerts potent activity in vitro and in vivo. Perfusion experiments with blood from patients with acute coronary syndrome on standard antithrombotics demonstrated complete inhibition of platelet adhesion after addition of ALX-0081, while in the absence of ALX-0081 residual adhesion was observed. In a baboon efficacy and safety model measuring acute thrombosis and surgical bleeding, ALX-0081 showed a superior therapeutic window compared with marketed antithrombotics. Pharmacokinetic and biodistribution experiments demonstrated target-mediated clearance of ALX-0081, which leads to a self-regulating disposition behavior. In conclusion, these preclinical data demonstrate that ALX-0081 combines a high efficacy with an improved safety profile compared with currently marketed antithrombotics. ALX-0081 has entered clinical development.

Reperfusion of cerebral artery thrombosis by the GPIb-VWF blockade with the Nanobody ALX-0081 reduces brain infarct size in guinea pigs

April 2013


224 Reads

Thrombolytic therapy is the cornerstone of treatment of acute atherothrombotic ischemic stroke but is associated with brain hemorrhage; antiplatelet therapy has limited efficacy and is still associated with intracranial bleeding. Therefore, new antithrombotic approaches with a better efficacy/safety ratio are required. We have assessed the effect of ALX-0081, a Nanobody against the A1 domain of von Willebrand factor (VWF) that blocks VWF binding to GPIb, of the thrombolytic agent recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA), and of the GPIIb/IIIa antagonist tirofiban, in a middle cerebral artery (MCA) thrombosis model in guinea pigs. Drugs were administered before, immediately after, or 15 or 60 minutes after the total occlusion of the MCA. ALX-0081 prevented MCA thrombosis and induced reperfusion when given immediately after and 15 minutes after complete occlusion and reduced brain damage without inducing hemorrhage, whereas tirofiban prevented thrombosis but did not induce reperfusion and induced striking brain hemorrhage. rtPA also induced reperfusion when given 60 minutes after occlusion but provoked brain hemorrhage. Skin bleeding time was not modified or was moderately prolonged by ALX-0081, whereas tirofiban and rtPA prolonged it. The inhibition of the GPIb-VWF axis in guinea pigs prevents cerebral artery thrombosis and induces early reperfusion without provoking intracerebral bleeding thus reducing brain infarct area.

Synergistic antileukemic interactions between 17-AAG and UCN-01 involve interruption of RAF/MEK- and AKT-related pathways

October 2003


44 Reads

Interactions between the protein kinase C (PKC) and Chk1 inhibitor UCN-01 and the heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) antagonist 17-AAG have been examined in human leukemia cells in relation to effects on signal transduction pathways and apoptosis. Simultaneous exposure (30 hours) of U937 monocytic leukemia cells to minimally toxic concentrations of 17-AAG (eg, 400 nM) and UCN-01 (eg, 75 nM) triggered a pronounced increase in mitochondrial injury (ie, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential [Deltapsim]; cytosolic release of cytochrome c), caspase activation, and apoptosis. Synergistic induction of apoptosis was also observed in other human leukemia cell types (eg, Jurkat, NB4). Coexposure of human leukemia cells to 17-AAG and the PKC inhibitor bisindolylmaleimide (GFX) did not result in enhanced lethality, arguing against the possibility that the PKC inhibitory actions of UCN-01 are responsible for synergistic interactions. The enhanced cytotoxicity of this combination was associated with diminished Akt activation and marked down-regulation of Raf-1, MEK1/2, and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). Coadministration of 17-AAG and UCN-01 did not modify expression of Hsp90, Hsp27, phospho-JNK, or phospho-p38 MAPK, but was associated with further p34cdc2 dephosphorylation and diminished expression of Bcl-2, Mcl-1, and XIAP. In addition, inducible expression of both a constitutively active MEK1/2 or myristolated Akt construct, which overcame inhibition of ERK and Akt activation, respectively, significantly attenuated 17-AAG/UCN-01-mediated lethality. Together, these findings indicate that the Hsp90 antagonist 17-AAG potentiates UCN-01 cytotoxicity in a variety of human leukemia cell types and suggest that interference with both the Akt and Raf-1/MEK/MAP kinase cytoprotective signaling pathways contribute to this phenomenon.

Figure 1A 
Table 4 : Outcome of Asparaginase Randomization 
Results of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ALL Consortium Protocol 95-01 for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia

March 2007


263 Reads

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) Childhood ALL Consortium Protocol 95-01 was designed to minimize therapy-related morbidity for children with newly diagnosed ALL without compromising efficacy. Patients participated in randomized comparisons of (1) doxorubicin given with or without dexrazoxane, a cardioprotectant (high-risk patients), (2) intensive intrathecal chemotherapy and cranial radiation (standard-risk patients), and (3) Erwinia and Escherichia coli asparaginase (all patients). Between 1996 and 2000, 491 patients (aged 0-18 years) were enrolled (272 standard risk and 219 high risk). With a median of 5.7 years of follow-up, the estimated 5-year event-free survival (EFS) for all patients was 82%+/-2%. Dexrazoxane did not have a significant impact on the 5-year EFS of high-risk patients (P=.99), and there was no significant difference in outcome of standard-risk patients based on type of central nervous system (CNS) treatment (P=.26). Compared with E coli asparaginase, Erwinia asparaginase was associated with a lower incidence of toxicity (10% versus 24%), but also an inferior 5-year EFS (78%+/-4% versus 89%+/-3%, P=.01). We conclude that (1) dexrazoxane does not interfere with the antileukemic effect of doxorubicin, (2) intensive intrathecal chemotherapy is as effective as cranial radiation in preventing CNS relapse in standard-risk patients, and (3) once-weekly Erwinia is less toxic than E coli asparaginase, but also less efficacious.

Farnesyltransferase inhibitors interact synergistically with the Chk1 inhibitor UCN-01 to induce apoptosis in human leukemia cells through interruption of both Akt and MEK/ERK pathways and activation of SEK1/JNK

March 2005


262 Reads

Interactions between the Chk1 inhibitor UCN-01 and the farnesyltransferase inhibitor L744832 were examined in human leukemia cells. Combined exposure of U937 cells to subtoxic concentrations of UCN-01 and L744832 resulted in a dramatic increase in mitochondrial dysfunction, apoptosis, and loss of clonogenicity. Similar interactions were noted in other leukemia cells (HL-60, Raji, Jurkat) and primary acute myeloid leukemia (AML) blasts. Coadministration of L744832 blocked UCN-01-mediated phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK/ERK), leading to down-regulation of phospho-cyclic adenosine monophosphate responsive element-binding protein (phospho-CREB) and -p90(RSK) and activation of p34(cdc2) and stress-activated protein kinase/ERK kinase/c-Jun N-terminal kinase (SEK/JNK). Combined treatment also resulted in pronounced reductions in levels of phospho-Akt, -glycogen synthase kinase-3 (-GSK-3), -p70(S6K), -mammalian target of rapamycin (-mTOR), -forkhead transcription factor (-FKHR), -caspase-9, and -Bad. Ectopic expression of Bcl-2 or Bcl-xL but not dominant-negative caspase-8 blocked UCN-01/L744832-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis but did not prevent activation of p34(cdc2) and JNK or inactivation of MEK/ERK and Akt. Enforced expression of myristoylated Akt but not constitutively active MEK significantly attenuated UCN-01/L744832-induced apoptosis. However, dual transfection with Akt and MEK resulted in further protection from UCN-01/L744832-mediated lethality. Finally, down-regulation of JNK1 by siRNA significantly reduced the lethality of the UCN-01/L744832 regimen. Together, these findings suggest that farnesyltransferase inhibitors interrupt the cytoprotective Akt and MAPK pathways while reciprocally activating SAPK/JNK in leukemia cells exposed to UCN-01 and, in so doing, dramatically increase mitochondria-dependent apoptosis.

Interruption of the NF-kappaB pathway by Bay 11-7082 promotes UCN-01-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis in human multiple myeloma cells

May 2004


192 Reads

Interactions between pharmacologic NF-kappaB inhibitors (eg, Bay 11-7082, SN-50) and the checkpoint abrogator UCN-01 have been examined in human multiple myeloma (MM) cells. Exposure of U266 cells to Bay 11-7082 (Bay) in combination with UCN-01 resulted in the abrogation of NF-kappaB/DNA binding activity and the synergistic induction of apoptosis. Comparable synergism was observed in other MM cell lines and patient-derived CD138+ cells and between an inhibitory peptide of NF-kappaB (SN50) and UCN-01. Bay/UCN-01-mediated lethality involved mitochondrial dysfunction, caspase cleavage, and poly adenosine diphosphate-ribose polymerase (PARP) degradation. Although Bay modestly blocked UCN-01-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation, coadministration activated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and cdc2/cdk1 and down-regulated Mcl-1, XIAP, and Bcl-xL. Transfection with a constitutively activated mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK1)/green fluorescent protein (GFP) construct failed to block apoptosis induced by Bay/UCN-01 but significantly attenuated MEK inhibitor (U0126)/UCN-01-induced lethality. Inhibiting JNK activation with SP600125 or D-JNKI1 peptide markedly reduced Bay/UCN-01-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis and the down-regulation of Mcl-1, XIAP, and Bcl-xL but not of cdc2/cdk1 activation. Stable transfection of cells with dominant-negative caspase-9 dramatically diminished Bay/UCN-01 lethality without altering JNK or cdc2/cdk1 activation. Neither interleukin-6 (IL-6)- nor fibronectin-mediated adherence conferred resistance to Bay/UCN-01-induced apoptosis. Together, these findings suggest that a strategy combining UCN-01 with disruption of the IkappaB kinase (IKK)/IkappaB/NF-kappaB pathway warrants attention in MM.

Table 2 . HLA-A haplotype frequencies
Table 3 . Genotype frequencies in patients with EBV HL and control participants
HLA-A*02 is associated with a reduced risk and HLA-A*01 with an increased risk of developing EBV+ Hodgkin lymphoma

December 2007


116 Reads

Previous studies showed that the HLA class I region is associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and that HLA-A is the most likely candidate gene in this region. This suggests that antigenic presentation of EBV-derived peptides in the context of HLA-A is involved in the pathogenesis of EBV+ HL by precluding efficient immune responses. We genotyped exons 2 and 3, encoding the peptide-binding groove of HLA-A, for 32 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 70 patients with EBV+ HL, 31 patients with EBV- HL, and 59 control participants. HLA-A*01 was significantly overrepresented and HLA-A*02 was significantly underrepresented in patients with EBV+ HL versus controls and patients with EBV- HL. In addition, HLA-A*02 status was determined by immunohistochemistry or HLA-A*02-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on 152 patients with EBV+ HL and 322 patients with EBV- HL. The percentage of HLA-A*02+ patients in the EBV+ HL group (35.5%) was significantly lower than in 6107 general control participants (53.0%) and the EBV- HL group (50.9%). Our results indicate that individuals carrying the HLA-A*02 allele have a reduced risk of developing EBV+ HL, while individuals carrying the HLA-A*01 allele have an increased risk. It is known that HLA-A*02 can present EBV-derived peptides and can evoke an effective immune response, which may explain the protective phenotype.

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